Minnesota Timberwolves: Jimmy Butler to play in season opener

PARIS, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau says that Jimmy Butler is expected to play in Wednesday’s season opener as the saga continues.

Despite a trade request that took place nearly a month ago, Jimmy Butler remains on the Minnesota Timberwolves‘ roster with the season opener just three days away.

And believe it or not, it sure sounds as if he’ll be wearing a Wolves uniform when the team takes the floor on Wednesday night in San Antonio.

After practice on Sunday, Timberwolves head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau said that Butler would be “expected” to play in the opener against the Spurs. When Butler was asked about the crowd reaction when the Wolves host the Cleveland Cavaliers for the home opener on Friday night, Butler had this to say:

Not that it should be a surprise to anyone, but Butler has now officially taken on the fans of the team. It will be fascinating to see if the Target Center crowd brings heavy boos for one All-Star and potentially raucous cheers for the other in Karl-Anthony Towns. We could legitimately see a divided Wolves crowd with alternating boos and cheers for their own team.

Also notable from Sunday’s practice was that owner Glen Taylor was present — a rarity in his nearly 25 years of owning the team. Was he just feeling out the mood and tension level around the facility? Or is he genuinely contemplating wholesale and dramatic changes, as suggested by Larry Fitzgerald, Sr.

On the other hand, hanging on to Butler for a few extra weeks may only increase the offers that should roll in from other franchises; it’s absolutely a risk, both from a team chemistry and an injury perspective.

Former Nets executive Bobby Marks seems to agree with this method, provided the Wolves simply aren’t happy with the offers they’re getting thus far.

It’s absolutely possible that the Wolves are seeing this season as lost to some extent already; assuming that they’re eventually going to be trading Butler, they won’t be better this year than they were last year, and they may as well squeeze as much value as possible out of a trade that will help shape the future around Towns.

Next. More Jimmy Butler trade ideas. dark

Whatever happens, it won’t be pretty. And you can bet that Butler will hear his fair share of boos on Friday night at Target Center.